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Portrait Lenses

Lesson 11 from: Capturing Authentic Children Portraits

Tamara Lackey

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Lesson Info

11. Portrait Lenses

Lesson Info

Portrait Lenses

All right let's talk through lenses. The 24-70 milometer, 2.8 lens goes with me everywhere I go. I don't know that I ever do a shoot, especially a regular paid client shoot without it. It's part of every shoot I do because you can use it for anything whatever happens, it's a great lens. With few exceptions, it can cover most of the things you're trying to capture. And if somebody comes up to me and says, look, I don't have a lot of money, I'm getting into this, where should I spend my money? I consistently say, get a pretty good camera and one great lens. That's where you're putting money, get a pretty good camera and one high quality lens that you're gonna pay for but will be an incredible investment in this, this job, this career, this love/hate relationship you're gonna have forever with photography, which is mostly love for me but if that's gonna be the one place you put your money, put it there, and I would suggest of all the great lenses if you only have one, make it the 24-70, 2...

.8. Because you can walk into so many different situations and do so many different things with it. If you saw this morning, when we did these photo shoots with these boys. I had a bunch of different personality types I was working with. I had a limited scope in terms of where I could be on the set. I had an audience, which was clearly gonna be another form of stimulation and distraction for them, and I found that when I shot really close with a 24-70, I could keep them engaged, all in different ways. When I backed up, and shot with a longer lens, I love that look, but I would lose them somehow. So some of the times that's what I wanna do. You saw me make a point of when I have the dynamic child who is smiley and fun and great images, and I could shoot that all day long, but now I wanna back up and get a different look, but switching to the long lens, backing up, and even though I'm still engaging with him a little bit, I'm also now ignoring him a little bit. I'm able to get a whole different expression with that 105. Oppositely, how do I say that? In contrast, the other way to do it is if I am photographing a child with the 24-70, and very close, and clearly it's too close. It's uncomfortable, maybe the other child that just is feeling everything more, and I'm one more thing they're feeling in a not good way, I'm gonna back up. By the way, before I forget, when I was photographing the little boy who was sick, who's coughing, one of the things I wanna note, just because I think it's important on a normal every day kind of shoot cycle, if I have a parent call and say we're really excited for the shoot, Timmy is not feeling that great, he's coughing a lot, but I think we'll be fine. I think we'll be able to power through, I always, always, always say, let's go ahead and reschedule. Let's just go ahead and reschedule, we don't need to put him through that. I've got time on my calendar here, let's make that, let's just go ahead and slip that over to this day, give him a week to feel better. The reason for that is multifold. One, the kid is sick. Give him a break, he needs to get better. Number two, I don't wanna be sick. I have a full shooting schedule, and I have a very interactive style, there's a really good chance I'm gonna get sick too. Number three, even if I somehow pull off the best images in the world working so hard, and they're great, there's a really good chance that when we sit down to look at these images together, in a consultative sales session, they're gonna say (sighs) "That poor guy, maybe I shouldn't have pushed him, "He looks really sick". (laughs) Doesn't matter what a great job I did. So I will say, let's just go ahead and give it some other time. What I have to do is every single time I book a session, I have to book a backup session time. That's what I do as well. I give myself leeway, not only if the kid's sick, but if there's a weather issue, or if there's any kind of issue. You know, things happen all the time, they're like, ugh, last minute, I can't believe this, I'm so sorry, we have to reschedule. No problem, we have this one day over here, a week and a half later. Whatever it is. We put those in on purpose. It's not that if something happens again I won't scramble to find something, but there's no stress to me if I'm rescheduling because they're sick, or weather, whatever. So other varieties of that lens, there's also the 24-85, f3.5, and there's a number of zooms in that range. There's kind of the 24-105, is kind of like that too. So this kind of lens where you can grab it and use in a lot of situations is the one I would say get if you have to get one. I love a lot of the feel you can get from this. This is somewhere in Idaho, this awesome mural jumping in there. We had her throw off her shoes on purpose to kind of go with that fun, silly feel. I am jumping back, and I am at a 24 milometer shot. I can be at a 24 milometer, get that entire mural in there, because I want all of that. That adds to the shot. By getting just a little bit of it, you don't get that same impact. She is not balanced in the frame with everything else going on in the mural. But it's bright, it's poppy, it's got a fun feel. It's got that kind of fantastical kind of feel. Just there's something about the shot that just feels magical to me. And if I only have a long lens, I'd have lost it. Right? I need a wide shot to get so many of these images. And having a 24, stepping back just enough to keep in frame what I want, but not so far back that I'm not gonna be able to have this exchange makes a big difference. Yes? How do you deal with distortion? Because when I've shot with a 24, like those lines would come out distorted. Would you do that in post-processing or do you then deal with that? Oh, distortion. So from shooting from a very wide angle. The problem I have when I shoot from a very wide angle is I will get distortion if I get too close to my subject. So if this were extreme close up and I got really close with the 24, suddenly her nose would look really big. Her ears would look really small, I'd be warping the side of her this way. When you take a group shot, and it's very wide, and you're really close, the two people on the end are gonna be the least flattering, the people who are the last flattered by the shot. You will get warping, that's what's happening. But if you step farther back with the wide angle, you're in really good shape. That's what makes the difference. And when we get into post-processing, which we'll do towards the end of the day, please bring up the question about that again so I can show you some techniques to fix it if it happens. This is another great reason to have a wider lens, you wanna show more in the frame, you want an environmental portrait, which means I'm having a portrait of the subject, but the environment really matters here. I want it all in there. I wanna shoot this kind of scene with a 24-70 lens, the opportunity to have a very extended field of focus, like a narrower aperture where I'm shooting like at an F11 or F16, so everything is in focus, I do want that. And being able to use a great piece of glass to do that makes a big difference. Another photograph, these two girls, not that long ago we were doing just kind of a fun flipping through of different spots while we had a different photographer shooting, and this is kind of a situation where spontaneously they just kind of grabbed each other, and it was really funny and silly. Again, if I'm on a long lens, I miss it. I can't jump back fast enough to get it. It's fast to focus. It's a very fast to focus lens. I can literally run with my subjects, which I do a lot. I can run backwards as my subject is running towards me, and get them quickly because it focuses really quickly, sometimes people are confused about the term fast-glass. There's a couple of different meanings there. When I'm referring here, I'm talking about fast to focus glass. So I can really quickly get the shot off, get the shot off, get the shot off. If I'm trying to run backwards with her, and I'm trying shooting with a 105 lens, it's gonna be really hard to get those shots off very quickly, simply because it operates differently. A 24-70 lens is very fast to focus. Same thing here, I had Dad just spinning this little boy around, and getting those shots quickly. Because it's fast to focus, the second I get them where I want them, I can click it. The other reason is I can shoot really wide, really close, but still hold it farther away, because I am worried about warping, and I do want a wider scene, I can, this shot, I did this for Nikon School, we did a children and pets, photographing children and pets, and I showed how you could stand kind of here. Like normally you have to do this with your subject, which can be kind of weird. (laughs) But instead I'm on the side, like this, using the tilt and touch screen, and this one was just a tilt screen, where I'm pulling the LCD up, facing it towards me, shooting at a live view, and I can see what I'm getting like this. But I have to use a wide angle lens to do it, and it has to be far enough back where I don't have warping. But close enough that I can feel the frame strongly with her. This was shot with a 24-7, I'm off the edge of the bed, and the baby's coming at me. Why do I want the 24-70 for this? Not only are you getting this beautiful wide angle shot, and you keep the things in frame that you want in frame, but when the baby comes much closer, you can still get it. You can still get it, it's fun, it's great engaging look, he's so cute, he's right up on me, and I'm not gonna miss it, 'cause I've got this great wide angle lens. I have a lens by the way with 24- where I can actually still trigger it when the subject's closer. That's not true for all lenses. That's one of the other things, distance to subject triggering. You have those photographs where you've gotta take it and the second they get close enough, you won't be able to actually engage the shutter. Yeah? Mmm. Those can be so frustrating 'cause you're right there and everything's awesome and you're just too close, and you gotta keep going and the moment's gone. So that's another great reason for the 24-70 2.8 lens. Opposite of this is being able to shoot really far away to be able to show scope and size and have your little tiny people in your big wide open environment, like this. This was shot with the 24-70. I'm very far away. This was shot in the Arabian desert, and different subjects kind of just coming up and down these dunes, and it's just kind of this beautiful light, and I love the way everything was falling, and that they're tiny little sticks in the shot, but having that lens to do this was the only lens I wanted for this particular shot. It also enables you to do fun things like this is me, in this image, I am shooting through the little grass and leaves that go around. She's actually under the shrub, this little shrub bush thing where the leaves are kind of all the way around and she had to sneak in to get in there. And so she's in the corner, she's shaking the tree, which is why she's having fun. I am outside of the frame shooting through the foliage. And I can do that 'cause I can peak in, go wide angle, I can actually fit my head in, 'cause of where I am, but I can put the lens in, and get the shot, and I can click. That's what I can do with a wide angle lens, that's also crisp and clean and fast to focus. Let's talk about the classic portrait lens. This a variety of focal lengths for different people. There's a 135, a 105, 85, there's all these things in these different ranges. For me, the ones I use the most are the 85 and the 105. For years I was shooting the 85 1.4 lens as my prime portrait lens. It wasn't until the 105 1.4 lens came out, I think it was only a year ago. It wasn't until that lens came out that I switched up my favourite lens. But what it affords you is the ability to shoot pretty close, but I'm still at a 105 focal length, so even though I'm kind of close to you, I'm not warping you, I'm not distorting you. I'm right here, I've got a good enough distance where I'm still flattering you, but the closer I'm shooting to you, the more I have that beautiful background, that really soft bokeh that stands out. And it's not just background, it's also foreground. In this case I'm also shooting through something in my foreground. In this case, it was these yellow flowers that were right in front. Someone asked me once, she saw this shot, and she goes, what filter did you put on that? It's like, oh, no, I'm shooting through flowers. I'm shooting through yellow flowers. That's no filter. In this case, I found that she was better engaged with me, and I photographed her for years. She's this very cool smart kid. But the reason this shot worked in terms of the intensity of the focus that I was looking for, 'cause it's distracting, you're outside, there's a lot of things to look at, was because I kept ducking behind the flowers. And so I'm able to get her looking at me as I'm adjusting accordingly, and she's interested, she's a very interactive child. She's interested because of what I'm doing and I'm also able to utilize the fun element of hiding behind the flowers and coming up, and asking her questions as I go. By the way specifically this technique is I'm going behind something, I'm not doing peekaboo, because she's not a peekaboo toddler. But I am coming low and saying "So what do you think of the things "that I'm doing here?" I'm just being playful, I'm interesting, even if I look like a goof. I'm interesting. But I'm getting that great foreground in the front because of the shallow depth of field I'm shooting with with the 105, at an F1.8 I believe I was at right here. So I'm able to do that. And side note by the way. I wanna make this statement right here. If you find that you are not getting the shots that you wanna get. Maybe you're seeing some of my shots thinking gosh, why aren't I getting those shots? I would look from a self-awareness or self-reporting perspective, and ask yourself how willing am I just strip myself of any shred of dignity to get the shot I want? How willing am I to embarrass myself, and to not really care how I look while I'm getting that shot? Just ask yourself, I'm not saying you guys there's an answer for you that is right or wrong, but if you're feeling I want something and I'm working with subjects and I'm not trying to get it, I'm going for this, but I'm not getting that, I would ask what you're bringing to the table. What they're reflecting back to you because of what you're bringing to the table, and if you are very loose, and if you let yourself go, and if you're not stressed in that situation, and if you don't care what you look like, you're going to be going ahead and transferring that energy to them. You're gonna get that back from them, and you're gonna find that you're getting looser, more fun, more energetic, more focused shots. Because of what you're putting out. Another fun shot. This is a great example, I'm shooting with the 105, I'm shooting at like I think, yeah, I'm shooting at like F1.4 for this shot. I was getting those kind of smiles like this, those kind of gritty smiles. And here I'm just moving back and I'm moving back, and I'm kind of tripping as I go, actually I was being playful, and that's where you get that shot. Where you actually get expression. Like you're humiliating yourself, lady. (laughs) But you're getting that shot. This is another one shot with with the 105. I'm shooting as close as I can to him to be able to release the shutter. So he's filling the frame. Again, he is not warped. His eyes are bright and sharp and blue, and beautiful, he's got this great expression, 'cause he's coming in really close to me while I get that shot. But the focus is only here. I am in incredibly shallow depth of field, I'm controlling, it because I'm actually having a very fast shutter speed, I'm letting him to get as close to the angle of my camera, as close to the lens on my camera as possible before I can no longer click the shutter, but almost immediately it's all falling out of focus. It's all soft here. That's in camera, it's that soft all the way around him because I'm shooting a really shallow depth of field, and he's coming really close. So I get all of this very soft. I get that background completely gone, this is actually in a garden with a ton of stuff, like grass and a lot of actually detail back there, but it's gone because of that combination of factors. Another image that I love, love. Also one of my favourite photographs I've taken in the last year. Love this shot. I love this shot for a couple of different reasons. One, I'm able to work with a kid who's running around laughing and being goofy and saying, I want another side of you. I wanna do something that's a little more elegant, a little more stylish. I'm gonna bring in props, I never bring in props, hardly ever, but I wanna bring something in just to make the shot work a little differently. And what you see right here from a composition perspective, you kind of see a balance. That's what's happening. Like this shot is different, if she's just right there and there's nothing else in it, you add this element in, and it fills the frame that compositionally, is more attractive and interesting, and intriguing. It's more visually compelling to add an element in. So that element is in there, we've got the posing down including how she's putting her weight on her foot, how she's moving forward. How am I getting her to do that? I am mirroring it for her, I am showing her what I'm doing, I'm explaining it in a way that she can better understand. If I tell a child, lean forward, they do this. If I say, okay, right here's your hinge. You know what a hinge is? It's kind a lock moves back and forth. It's how a door opens, just hinge forward. Whatever, whatever words I'm using, I will make sure I demonstrate that. And I'm getting the catch light I want. I really want this catch lights to pop up. It's just a reflector we're using to have our eyes pop. And the other thing I'm noting in the shot, I'm shooting with a 105, 1.4, so even though this is actually right at the front of the studio. It's really just walked out the door and took the shot, but all the way back there there's like a nail salon, there's like some post boxes, there's a Walgreens that's back there. I don't want any of that in focus, so I'm shooting at an F1.4, but I also have all this light coming in, 'cause I'm not shooting at an optimal time of day for this, so I need some diffusing on that light, and we use the five in one reflectors, you guys have those? Where you open it up and there's not only the white balance, there's the black balance, there's the flag, that's the black part. There is the silver, there's the gold, and then there is the diffuser. And the diffuser's is one that not a lot of people use. and I use it a lot. I love being able to stack up a couple of diffusers, hey Mom you going on that one hey, my assistant over there, et cetera, and diffuse that light popping in, so it's not harsh and cutting, and it looks like a bunch of cuts behind her of light that are very distracting. 'Cause your eye goes to the point of most contrast. And I want you to go here, 'cause she's gorgeous. I don't want you all the way back here. So there's, again, back to the idea of what looks like maybe a simple portrait, but realizing there's a lot that goes into building it. This is shot with the 105 1.4. Same thing, getting kind of a girl who is just, she's got spunk and style and she's cool. I'm shooting again in a wide open setting. I'm, probably here at an F2.8, and the 105 is just top to bottom, top to bottom, go ahead and move somewhat, shake it around, let's keep getting the shot. These were lit with the pro photo B2 stropes. This same image, I've got this kind of fashion look, later when we're done with the shoot, I wanna do some more playful stuff with her. And so she's running around moving. I don't have the 24-70 on, so I'm actually shooting closer to her with the 105 than I would otherwise, but I'm able to still capture some really strong focus like right in her eyes. Let's have some fun foreground with the hair she's flipping around. I want playfulness, I want motion, I want laughter. 'Cause I already got this look. I got style and swank and all that sort of stuff. Now let's just have you being a kid. Being able to use the lens for multiple things is really helpful. All right, lets talk about the 105 macro. Or the 85 macro, or the 50 macro, or the 40 macro, or the 60 macro. There's a ton of macros out there, and you gotta choose which one you want. I really like a macro that's affiliated with, that's built into a portrait lens. 'Cause then I can use it for all kinds of things. When I put on the macro lens, I can go, okay, I love this little bug, I love this little flower. Ooh, I love that person. And never having to change my lens. So the 105 2.8 is, and it's not even a pricey lens. Macro lenses are not that expensive. I've had people say, yeah, I'm not ready to invest in that yet. I'm like, that actually can add a really interesting element to your portfolio. And it's not that expensive to get a macro. I actually think this macro, although it's a 105, at least for Nikon is something like a third of the price of the 105 1.4. This is macro. So it's like the things that drop, this is actually a color image. Just droplets on a black car hood. And this super close as you want to a person, inside of an eye. It's kind of fun to have a little baby parts if you're photographing toddlers and newborns and stuff, just kind of putting a compilation together of all these little parts. The macro allows you to do that, but you can also step back and use it as a portrait lens. Just sitting in a studio, black or gray background I think, shooting with the 105. This really crisp catcher. Catch of the subject. Same thing, tilted down. 105, stepping back, going up, tilting down. Having the subject looked up at me, this, she is so pretty. Shooting down, and I'm thinking about a couple of things, one, I want all that light in her big gorgeous eyes by shooting up and tilting down a little bit, her eyes are naturally going to appear larger. By managing some of the specular highlights or the extra highlights that could come in with a really bright white shirt. We are shooting outdoor. I can go ahead and do that, simply either flagging her shirt with some sort of flag. A flag, by the way, in photography is anything that blocks a light. So a flag can be the black part of that section that you have in a five in one reflector, or could be hey mom, stay right there for a second. Stand right there and block the light. It can be either one. Here I'm just adjusting here a little bit in the shade, so I have light coming in here, but just this part's in the shade. But the 105 let's me have a beautiful, crisp, sharp capture, and I can also switch it up and do a macro of her eye. If I want to. The other lens that I would say in the order that I use lenses, the 24-70 goes everywhere. The 105 I use a whole lot. And the 70-200 is probably the one I use next the most. The reason is because you can utilize it for different reasons. One, you need to zoom in! You need some zoom in. You're over here, your subject's over there, I wanna zoom in and get a great shot. So easy to do. For sports, on the sidelines at soccer. All those things. A long 70-200 is very helpful. You pair a 70-200 lens with a crop sensor, and you're going in significantly closer, which is pretty cool. The other reason why I really like that is sometimes from an energetic perspective, my subject needs room. They will respond to me differently. On the left here we have, I'm shooting across the pool. Kind of really fun shot. Fast shutter speed, a lot going on there in terms of that, but I'm just shooting from a long lens perspective, and that works. Here I'm shooting farther back zooming in for a couple of reasons. One, this was a tutorial we did for Pro Photo like with the strobes, we have someone behind her throwing up the leaves again and again. I think we threw those leaves 15 times. I'm trying to get a quick shot, have the strobe hit the light, and shoot from farther back and zooming in, and what that gives me is not only the ability to back up and adjust as I want based on where those leaves are hitting, because I have a zoom lens, but it also gives me that lovely soft background, that blurred background I'm gonna get really easily with the 70-200 extended to 200 milometer focal length. Energetically, this is a really fun shot of a little kid who was having a lot of fun, but the closer I got to him, the more he was just a little bit more like, (whimpers). It was just a stage he was going through, I've photographed these kids numerous times, and he hit this stage where he just kind of felt a little more like why are you in my space, lady? So I back up, zoom in, and I get this great expression. I'm backing up and making a point of telling him why I'm backing up. I think I'm getting too close to you, and you do not like it. And then I zoom in and I get a shot as if I was right next to him. That's what's so great about that. Same thing. This little girl, bright sunny day, really cute, I'm backing up, I'm getting all those rows from a compositional perspective, all those rows of the fencing in here. I've got a great look from her, and it's 'cause I'm going further back and I'm achieving that look I want, but giving her space. You could even do it with larger groups. This was shot during our, I think it was the posing course, or the authentic family course. Something like that that I did for Creative Live. This family were out in the grassy kind of field and they are interacting better when I back up and let them naturally do that together. Then if I'm really close with a wide angle lens telling them what to do. They don't need to know what to do, they're a family, they can connect together if I back up and give them some more room they will do that more naturally. And lastly (laughs) I love this little kid and his tongue. Lastly, being able to make a game with it to say, can you track me if I go over here? If I go over here, if I go over here? I'm going all the way back here, can you track me? For a kid who's interactive, and loves that game, and get a lot of different looks, getting farther away, zooming in, and actually using your movement as a way to engage him. Okay, we're on the 35 milometer lens. The 35 milometer 1.4 lens is a great lens to pull out when you're just, it's just the perfect distance away from your subject. If I am shooting, if I'm shooting with a 24-70 lens, and it's dialed into 35 milometer focal length, and not the 24 and not the 70. About the third of the way in at that 35 milometer gauge, I'm not sure mathematically that was correct. But you know what I'm saying. If I take the shot at a 35 milometer focal length at F.12, and then I take the exact same shot with the 35 milometer at an F1.2, because I'm shooting with that prime lens and that beautiful glass, I'm going to get a clearer, crisper shot with just the prime versus where I'd be dialing in that same focal length with 24-70. And I've laid these images up next to each other and been like huh, I thought that was a good shot, but that's a really good shot. It makes a difference. So if I know I'm gonna be at that right distance where it really works to put it on, I'm gonna throw on the 35. The 35 1.4 lens. I'm right overhead, I'm engaging with the child. We're taking clicks and pictures, and the 35 is right where I want it to be. Same child, different pose, fantastic expression, I'm shooting with the 35. 'Cause it's right here and I'm getting this child crisp and clean and I can interact and I don't have to zoom in and out, I don't have to jump around. In fact, that baby just laid there. That baby was just laying around. I could stay where I was and not worry about it, so the 35 was great for that. I would not have had the clear shot I got if I'd just the 24-70. I would have a clear shot, and a good shot, but if you laid the two next to each other, you're like, oh yeah, the prime definitely captured that in more detail and crisper and sharper. It also gives you some quirkiness, some fun looks. If you're playing a little bit with angling, this shot looks like you're kind of shooting top down a little bit, and there's just a fun feel. I'm up here, I'm going down, because I'm shooting with a wider angle lens with a 35, like the top part of her is a little bigger, and the bottom part of her is a little smaller, and it's just something that's a little off. It's not what the natural eye sees, which is more in that 50 milometer range, it's not that really flattering look with a portrait lens, going back to 85 or 105, but I'm right in here, and I'm just getting a little bit of something that the eye doesn't see and it's a little quirky, and it's a little different. And it's fun to pull out a 35 for something like that. I mention that the 50 milometer, or the 58 1. is what the natural eye sees. I'm not gonna really go too much into this at all. I love that photograph, I love taking it with the 58 1.4 is what used for it. But I actually rented the 58 1. to try it out, to see what I thought of it. And I realized that I took some nice shots, but I didn't love them. To me it wasn't worth that cost. I will stand right next to another photographer who says, are you kidding? I shoot everything with the 50 or the 58 1.4. Their shots are great, I love my shots, it's a personal style. It's kinda what you love. I hardly ever, ever shoot with the 50 or the 58. And probably two days some other instructor will come up here and say I only use the 50 to 58. You should too. It's personal style. I just don't love it. All right, so you got all this gear. What bag to hold it all? I have quite a long relationship with using different bags. I love the ability to kind of put everything in one place, grab it and go. I've done backpack camera bags, I've done roller bags, I've done the big hefty one where you can put in 5000 pieces of gear, but I can't actually get it into the overhead once I'm on the plane. I've shot with a lot of different bags, and for the most part, some of them have been fine, some of them have been really frustrating, I have just recently, like to me this is a revelation. I've just recently, and I mean in the last few months found this bag that is the answer to all my dreams and then some. And funny on the way here, I was like, sitting there going over to the ticket agent, and I'm talking in full length about this bag to my husband, Steve. I'm like, and then I got this, I got this, and he's like, are we on a commercial or something? I'm like no, I'm just so excited about it! This is this bag, the Think Tank Airport Advantage. Why am I so excited about it? I have never in 15 years of shooting professionally and traveling a lot for work, I have never had a bag in a situation with all my gear where I've rolled up to the counter to leave and they haven't freaked me out about where I'm gonna put my bag. They're gonna try to take it from me they're gonna say there's no board room. I'm gonna walk on the plane and I'm gonna really try quickly to put it in the flight attendant's thing, can I just put this in here? No, no, I can't? Okay great, okay cool cool. I'm doing okay. It has been stressful to me. It's been a very stressful experience. This bag holds three camera bodies, I've had four lenses in there, one flash, I have backup external drives, a laptop, battery cables, memory cards. This is ridiculous! Everything I'm shooting when I came here to Creative Live fit in that bag and then some. I also had my hazelnut wafers, my vegan chocolate chip cookie. You can put a lot of things in this bag. It's kinda nuts because it doesn't scientifically seem like it should happen. You can see this bag on our website. I put it up on my photographer's favorites under Think Tank. You can see this bag. But I will tell you, that if you are somebody who travels for work, or you want to take your cameras when you fly places, check out this bag. Go to a show, see if you can't borrow it to rent, and feel what it's like. It has been a game-changer for me. This is, it goes down every aisle. I shoot a lot in New York. I travel a lot to New York with my camera. I love in North Carolina. I fly those little tiny regional jets that when you get on it, you're like, oh God, I'm just gonna get to my seat real quick. We've all been on those planes, right? Where you're like, how is this a real plane? I'm in a Lego plane. You sit down, and the person next to you. I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to breathe. So this bag, with all my gear that I never, ever wanna check, I will fight tooth and nail. I will skip a flight before I'll let them check my camera bag, 'cause I've seen what happens to checked baggage. I've had it happen. Remember leaving a show in Las Vegas. I left a show in Las Vegas. I checked my bag, went in, sat on the plane, got off of the plane next morning, it was a Red Eye. Sat there waited for my carousel. It was really cute, my husband, kids met me at the airport, like (babbles), and he's like, where's your bag? I'm like, I dont know. And then suddenly I see a sweater, a battery cable, a pair of jeans, one shoe, and my bag ripped open. I'm like, I think that's my bag. (laughs) I'm like, oh my gosh. I've seen what happens to bags. I will never check my camera gear, and so every single time I get on these planes now since I've gotten this bag, I go to the flight attendant, and she'll say, I'm not sure if I'm gonna have to pink tag that. I'm like, no, it fits. I promise you it fits. You wanna come see how it fits? It fits everywhere. So it fits on the overhead, it fits down the aisle. If it sounded like I just talked a whole lot about this bag, it's because it's been revolutionary for me. It's been a really big deal. Oh, I didn't say that. (laughs) The Think Tank Airport Advantage. Think Tank Airport Advantage. If you travel with your gear, you want to look into this camera bag. And you can see the exact link through to it on, my favourite stuff, photographer favorites. I think it's photography favorites. And then you'll see Think Tank. And just click through and you'll see this bag. Yes. Hey. One quick question. How do you carry your lights? I have to-- Great question. I got really, I managed to do it, but I've figured there might be a better clever way, because I definitely didn't wanna check out my bags. My lights either, so I have to get really creative about that. Yeah, no it's a great question. Yeah, it's something we all come up against. How do you carry lights? I have done the whole thing, like we've come out and I have my web series, Re-Defined Show, where we sit down and we interview creatives and on the show we have to have video lights, big lights to light me and the subject and wherever I'm going, I have to bring them and I hate doing that because I don't wanna bring it, so I have assistants come and they bring it, and they don't wanna do it, and it's a pain, so what I do now is, here's what I would suggest. One, look at wherever you're going and see if you can rent lights when you get there. So if there's not a camera store, I did a commercial shoot once in Kansas, and I put on social media, hey, does anybody here have lights I can rent from you when I get there? Someone had lights, they literally came to my location shoot, I sent them a check as a thank you, I wrote a check right there, thank you so much, I'll be shooting with this 'til five o'clock, do you want me to bring it back there? I'll come back and get it, great. I have done that, that's a nice easy fix if you need a lighting set up for where you are. Easier than that now is I just got back from Photo Plus in New York City, I brought two of the Westcott Ice Lights, that my friend Jerry designed, and they are basically a wand with lights that looks like, I think I'll have a picture of this coming up. But that basically it's like carrying window light with you. They're small, they're portable, they're easy. This last trip I just took to New York City I pulled four of these lights, I rolled them up in this tiny bag, and I was able to put them, put in my backpack, I could put in a suitcase, they're not even a pound, and then I could then when I get to wherever I'm going, I can either set them on something like this, but I don't even have to. I can tape them to the wall. I can Velcro them to a chair. Turn them on with all the power you see here. All that brightness you just saw on that shoot, and I've never had any, I mean, so many things have clicked together in the last few months, these new products. I love them. It's more of a, if I had the B2s. The Profoto B2s The Strove Kit, yeah. Battery powered Strove. That I have to do a battery powered because I'm shooting on location. Those things are big. Yeah, well the Profoto B2, you can fit the whole thing in a backpack. Yeah, that's why I end the-- Yeah, you just pick up the backpack. But then they really look at me funny in the airport because I have my camera gear on my roller, then I have the backpack, so I have to fight to them that I, you guys are not covering the cost of these things. So I took two of them. You must always can take a luggage, like a carry on thing and a personal effect. Why isn't that your personal effect? Because it's too big. Oh, I've done that. They've given me a little trouble and I was like, listen, I open it up, you guys are not taking care of this, and they're like, okay okay. Well the backpack thing has always saved that for me. 'Cause it's in a backpack. I don't wanna carry it, 'cause it's heavy, but I can.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Tamara Lackey Posing Book Discount
Nations Photo Lab Discount

Ratings and Reviews


Tamara Lackey brings amazing energy to her teaching and shooting style. She shared a ton of tips and tricks for capturing the true character and personality of each child in both individual and group portraits. I have always found it to be particularly difficult to capture portraits of multiple children that are composed to be both visually interesting and true to their unique story. I learned so much about directing and communicating effectively with child subjects, and how to use my gear and other tools to streamline the process and keep it all fun for the family. No matter how much you think you know about photographing children, this class is an asset that you will not regret! Thank you Tamara Lackey!

Heidi Mikulecky

I love Tamara's tips for working with common personality types found in children. I also love that class allows you to be "fly on the wall" during her photo shoots. It's so helpful for me to see how other photographers engage their subjects (especially children). Tamara brings a ton of energy, excitement and playfulness to her shoots. It opened my eyes to how fun (and how exhausting) a photo shoot can be when you give it your all. Great class!

Sara NAomi

This was an amazing class. Photoshop has been a huge learning curve for me during the past year and it was so helpful to see the quick and easy way you used levels to bring down brightness/hotspots. I will definitely be using it to improve the "ear" on the portrait that you critiqued. Thank you soooooooooo very much Tamara and CL for providing such great content!

Student Work